Information checklist – what you need to apply

This checklist covers all the information we ask about an organisation applying for registration as a charity. Use the checklist to make sure you have all the information you need to complete the application form.

Attention - Important information! Important! Your application will be delayed if you do not provide all the information we need.

Australian Business Number (ABN)

To register with the ACNC, the organisation must have an ABN. The ABN must:

  • be the organisation’s ABN (not an individual’s) and be registered with the same name as stated in the organisation’s governing documents.
  • be registered with the correct ‘entity type’.

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Organisation name

The name of the organisation on the application form must be the same name as the name:

  • listed on the Australian Business Register (ABR)
  • shown in the organisation’s governing document, and
  • registered with other regulators (such as ASIC) if applicable.

Provide any other names that the organisation is known by (for example, a trading name or acronym). The organisation’s name will be displayed on the ACNC Charity Register.

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Contact details

We ask the following details of the organisation:

  • an Address For Service (email and/or postal)
  • a business address
  • a primary contact person and their contact details (this is the contact person for after the organisation is registered)
  • a contact person for the ACNC to deal with while considering the application (can be the same as the primary contact person).

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Legal Structure

We ask about the correct legal structure for the organisation – that is, the type of entity the organisation is. (The most common types are incorporated association, company limited by guarantee, trust, unincorporated.)

Attention - Important information! Important! Individuals, sole traders, government entities and partnerships are ineligible to register as charities.

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  • Read more about legal structure.
  • Unsure? Check the organisation’s governing document (its constitution or rules) and its entry on the Australian Business Register.

Date of establishment

If the organisation is an incorporated association or a company, its date of establishment is the date of incorporation or registration as a company.

If the organisation is unincorporated or a trust, it is the date its governing document (its constitution, rules or trust deed) was first established.

If the organisation was established under legislation, it is the date this legislation was enacted.

Governing documents

The formal document that sets out the organisation’s charitable purpose (or purposes) and the rules and processes under which it operates.

This document may have different names depending on the type of organisation; commonly called a constitution, rules, articles of association or trust deed.

The governing document must include:

  • the organisation’s legal name
  • the organisation’s charitable purpose(s)
  • that the organisation operates on a not-for-profit basis, and
  • the rules and processes which outline the way the organisation makes decisions and is governed.

The governing document should be the final copy and free from any drafting amendments.

Organisations set up by an Act of Parliament, Canon law, Letters Patent or Royal Charter may not have separate governing document and should supply a copy of their governing act instead.

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Charitable purposes

The purpose or purposes (also referred to as ‘objects’) of the organisation. This may also be commonly known as the organisation’s mission, the purposes for which it was set up.

The purposes are set out in the governing document and must accurately reflect the work of the organisation.

All purposes must be charitable (or ancillary to a charitable purpose).

Attention - Important information! Important! Purposes that are social, sporting or recreational in nature are not charitable unless they are ancillary to an overarching charitable purpose.

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Subtypes

These are the charity categories (known as subtypes) the organisation can apply for.

Attention - Important information! Important! Only select the subtypes that the organisation can show it actively works towards (and are reflected in the objects or purposes of the organisation’s governing document). Do not apply for subtypes that the organisation doesn’t actively work towards. Choosing inappropriate subtypes will delay the application.

Applications as a Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) or a Health Promotion Charity (HPC) must come with a completed PBI or HPC schedule (available to download in the online application form)

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Activities

How the organisation’s activities work towards the selected subtype(s).

This asks for a description of the activities of the organisation, not simply restating the organisation’s purposes (objects) as written in its governing document.

Beneficiaries

The people or groups the organisation helps, or intends to help, with its main activities.

Other information

An option to provide other information to support the application (for example, a business plan, annual report, internal policies and procedures or brochures for the organisation).

Operating locations

All the locations in which the organisation operates (or plans to operate).

Operating overseas

If the organisation operates (or plans to operate) overseas, the ACNC requires a separate short questionnaire to be completed. This questionnaire asks for information about the way the organisation manages its overseas operations, funds and activities. It is available via a link in the confirmation email you receive after submitting the main application form.

Responsible Persons

The people responsible for governing the organisation. The names of these people may change according to the type of organisation it is, but they are commonly called the board members, directors, committee members or trustees.

We ask for the following details of all the organisation’s Responsible Persons:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • contact details, and
  • position within the organisation.

Check that the organisation has the required number of Responsible Persons as set out in its governing document (or incorporating legislation).

Attention - Important information! Important! This is not simply a request for one contact person – when completing the form, it is essential to provide these details for all the Responsible Persons. Not providing these details for all the Responsible Persons will delay the application.

Ensure the Responsible Persons are suitable by checking the ASIC and ACNC registers of banned or disqualified persons.

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Financial information

The organisation’s financial year-end date and information about its current financial situation, including details of estimated current and future revenue and fundraising.

If the organisation's financial year-end date is not June 30, provide a reason for requesting another date.

ATO tax concessions

The tax concessions that the organisation wants to apply for. The ACNC will pass this information to the ATO for assessment. If the ATO requires any additional information, someone from the ATO will contact the organisation directly.

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Date from when the tax concession will apply

The date from when the organisation wants the tax concessions to apply.

Requests to backdate tax concessions to more than a year earlier than the organisation’s charity application will require a separate short questionnaire. The questionnaire asks questions about the operations and activities of the organisation during the backdating period. It is available via a link in the confirmation email you receive after submitting the main application form.  

Deductible gift recipient (DGR)

Endorsement from the ATO as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR). Only certain types of charities are eligible to be endorsed as a DGR.

Attention - Important information! Important ! An organisation that applies for endorsement as a DGR must have a “DGR revocation clause” in its governing document (its constitution, rules or trust deed).

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Request to have information withheld from the ACNC Charity Register.)

Request to have details withheld from publication on the ACNC Charity Register.

These requests are only approved in limited circumstances and organisations must provide a valid reason for having specific details withheld. Read about the circumstances in which the ACNC will approve these requests before making a request.

Attention - Important information! Important! only the name and position of each Responsible Person is published on the ACNC Charity Register. Other information provided in the application form (e.g. addresses and date of birth) is not published on the ACNC Charity Register. Do NOT apply to have unpublished information withheld.

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